I set up my brooder and got the temp ok but the plastic has a smell from the heat. It's a small dog crate. I noticed the same smell if it sat in the sun. Is this risky for the chicks? It's still empty, should I use something else?
I use the 124 qt clear plastic totes from Lowes (very cheap). I cut out the center of the tops with a utility knife and add hardware cloth with bolts/nuts/washers for when the babies get bigger and inclined to "leave the nest" before I want them to. Easy to clean (I use vinegar and hot water) and I haven't ever noticed any chemical/plastic smells. I don't think I'd use something that I can smell- suggests it's giving off who knows what sort of chemicals.
Thanks for the input. It's been several hours since I plugged it in and the smell has filled the room. I'm definitely using something else. It will need to be completely secure because I have 4 cats who are much faster than I am.
We are using metal dog crates (small, medium and large) lined with cardboard halfway up for our three brooders, and they are working out great. However, kitty is not allowed in that room. Even if I was sure I had completely secure brooders I would not trust my cat or dogs in the room alone with the chicks. My cat is too sneaky, and my Border Collie is too quick!
Good luck with whatever you decide! Please let us know how it works out.
I'm using a wire ferret cage. I lined the bottom third with cardboard and covered the top and 3 sides with fabric. The cage is about 2x2x2 so I think they can use it until they're big enough to go outside. I put 2 little chicks in 6 days ago with a 125 watt heat bulb. This morning they had stopped sleeping under the lamp, so I switched to a 90 watt regular bulb. Since there isn't really room to change the bulb height, I'll keep reducing the wattage as needed. Their behavior will have to guide me because they're determined to eat the thermometer. I saved the little dog carrier. It'll be good to transport them from the coop to the daytime pen.